Troy Kotsur made history on Sunday (27/3) as the first deaf man to win an Oscar for his role in CODA, and Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress award for West Side Story, as Hollywood returned to luxury at its award ceremony. Oscars this year.
In CODA, the acronym for child of deaf adults or the son of a deaf adult, Kotsur plays Frank Rossi, the father of a teenager who struggles to help his family business while pursuing his dreams of music.
“It’s been great to be here on this journey. I can’t believe I’m here,” Kotsur said in a speech delivered in sign language, as he accepted the award for best supporting actor.
“This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community. This is our moment,” he continued.
The only other deaf person to win an Oscar is Kotsur’s co-star in CODA, Marlee Matlin. Matlin won best actress for her role in the 1986 romantic drama Children of a Lesser God.
The best supporting actress award went to DeBose, who plays the lively Anita, who sings America’s song in the classic music film directed by Steven Spielberg.
As she held her gold trophy, the Afro-Latin actress asked the audience to imagine her as a young woman “in the back seat of a white Ford Focus.”
“You see a queer, a self -proclaimed Latin woman queer openly, who finds his strength in life through art. And that’s what we celebrate here,” he said.
“So anyone who has ever questioned your identity, or found yourself in a gray room, I promise you this: There really is a place for us,” he continued, referring to the touching song from West Side Story.
DeBose also thanks her source of inspiration, Rita Moreno, who won the best supporting actress award in 1962 for her role as Anita in the original version of the musical.
Beyonce opened the show by performing Be Alive, the Oscar-nominated song from the film King Richard. The film revolves around the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. She and her dancers, dressed in sparkling yellow dresses, emerged from the tennis courts in Compton, California, the hometown of the two tennis brothers.
After three years without hosts, Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes were selected as the trio to host Sunday’s awards ceremony.
“This year, the Oscars hired three women to host the show because it’s cheaper than hiring a man,” joked Schumer.
“And for those of you in Florida, we’re having a gay night,” Sykes added. Sykes, who is openly gay, refers to legislation in the state that restricts the discussion of LGBTQ in schools and has been branded by critics in Hollywood and elsewhere as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. [uh/rs]